A Practical Approach for Transforming Higher Education

Digital Transformation is more than just integrating and upgrading digital technology or moving to the cloud. It requires a cultural change that enables organizations to continuously challenge current approaches, experiment, fail fast, and learn faster. Establishing this repeatable rhythm separates the leaders from the rest of the pack, but any organization can do it.

Understanding Your Transformation Challenges

Transformation challenges are more pronounced in the field of higher education, the vertical industry that institutionalized research and commercially-relevant professional development but has since fallen behind other vertical industries in terms of technology adoption, innovation, and self-disruption. Thus, higher education executives typically need to close a much wider digital maturity gap than organizations that have the full investment, urgency, and backing of their executive teams. Internal and external customers are demanding quicker outcomes, more data to enhance decision-making, and improved user experiences, all while dealing with budget cuts and fewer staff to support it all. Adding to these challenges, it is not uncommon to see dysfunction and distrust within the ranks of higher education senior leadership, and silos between teams and departments.

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Budget cuts & Fewer Staff

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Siloed teams

At Higher Digital, we’ve seen these patterns repeated over and over, and the solution is always the same: foster a new culture of transparency and alignment, where both executive leadership and technology managers partner, compromise, and move forward—together. They collaborate and prioritize the importance of consistently delivering solutions that their customers need. We believe that such alignment is a critical step toward achieving true digital transformation, and this is why we created our own Digital Transformation Management process and engagement methodology, Simplified Enterprise Agile™.

Simplified Enterprise Agile™

Our process, Simplified Enterprise Agile™ (SEA), is the new operating system for strategic change management and the foundation for our offerings. Leveraging the spirit of Lean Agile methods, (SEA) combines the most effective practices from several common frameworks and dispenses with those that are less relevant and less practical for most enterprises.

Our engagement methodology is (SEA)change, a comprehensive life cycle approach to Digital Transformation Management that:

“Jumps into the trench” with our customers
Adapts to your organizational structure
Provides vertical-industry-specific “surge expertise,” content training, and facilitation to methodically conquer strategic change
Simplifies the processes of prioritization and communication
Leverages current technology investments
Provides actionable, immediate, and measurable impact
Tightens alignment between leadership and development
Generates greater value in less time and at lower cost than traditional digital transformation consultants
Leaves our customers with the ability to sustain strategic change going forward

How does (SEA)change work?

(SEA)change is a business-first methodology that establishes your process for continuous Digital Transformation Management within the life cycle structure that we have proven as a best practice. It encompasses the following steps:



ASSESS stakeholders and participants to gauge readiness, maturity, alignment, and practical next steps.



STRATEGIZE to prioritize initiatives likely to provide the highest “return on transformation” (RoT) in pursuit of your enterprise vision.



TRANSFORM your organization, operations, and technology rhythm using Simplified Enterprise Agile (SEA).



MEASURE your change velocity, team alignment, and value created against your enterprise key performance indicators (KPIs). 

Our (SEA)change methodology is designed to accommodate any change initiative, regardless of size, complexity, or domain. Whether you’re ready to change from the top down with a fresh strategy; bottom up with new cloud infrastructure; in-between with operational system upgrades, migrations, or replacements; or all of the above, (SEA)change provides the process, training, and results your stakeholders need. Please review our listing of sample engagements to learn more about our specific capabilities.

Many of our clients start by implementing (SEA)change within a specific department or division, then expand their efforts more broadly once the first adopters have experienced positive results. When other groups within the organization see such rapid delivery of value, they become very receptive to adopting this approach so that their part of the enterprise can experience the same benefits. They realize that the process isn’t as daunting as expected, and opt to develop this new digital transformation muscle in concert with their stakeholders.

More Information

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To learn more about our process, please read the (SEA)Change white paper written by Higher Digital Founder and COO, Colleen E. Baker.


Case Studies

Many organizations have leveraged Higher Digital (SEA)change engagements to produce rapid, measurable, positive results.

To review some examples, check out our Customers page.